It's All In How Your Brand Exerts Influence
May 29, 2012
Influence – you have it. No matter the amount of listeners or "likers" you've collected, every person and every brand has influence.
The trouble is, once we realize we have it, what do we even do with it?
There are two ways of exerting influence - pushing out or pulling in.
For most brands, it's about "pushing." That includes hyping stuff, "blasting" the database and stumping for fans socially only to end up pitching them.
It's a tactic that has been pushed down for generations. But today's world is different – people no longer just sit and listen to brands – they participate with, share, and want to be heard.
So to effectively exert influence in this "open and connected" world, perhaps pulling fans in and allowing them to get excitedly involved with the brand is the better choice.
One example of pulling fans in is a person who we all know in a parallel world to those of us in radio - someone who also has one foot in traditional broadcasting and the other in this new world - Conan O'Brien
He spoke at the 2012 Cable Show in Boston recently and admitted he was a traditionalist (pushing out) while at NBC. He said he didn't pay too much attention to how he was using his influence on social and digital platforms until he was "forced to" after losing his Tonight Show gig.
"[What we do now] is quite a change from the NBC days. When we had a 'Late Night page', it was the same [kind of] page that a dry cleaner would have.
We had to rethink the way we connect with fans. It's not just [about] driving people on social media networks to your television show... you want to get people emotionally involved.
The more that you can get all pistons working, eventually, the symbiotic relationship builds familiarity, and helps drive more people to watch Conan live."
Conan said he and his team realized it's all in how they use his influence that creates "incredible awareness" for his brand – and even increased viewership for his TBS show.
To (properly) exert influence and keep fans feeling that they are part of your brand, size up how you talk with your fans and hold it up to why they are even around.
1. Always remember why people use your product.
Over 57,000 radio fans said in Jacobs Media Techsurvey8 that while "favorite songs" and "local personalities" are the two most important elements when it comes to why they use radio, it is the emotional triggers that radio fans hold in high regard.
They said they use their favorite radio stations because it puts them in a better mood, offers companionship, gets them through their workday, and offers an escape from the pressures of everyday life.
Understanding why people turn you on could help eliminate self-indulgent type messaging and assist in exerting your brand's influence in a way where you can still talk about the same things but on a level that speaks for their voice, not yours.
2. Know the primary purpose behind why they participate with you socially.
Radio fans also revealed in Techsurvey8 that the main reason why they "like" their favorite radio station's Facebook page is because they just like you - just the way you are.
Are you surprised?
Notice how small "contests" and many other elements are behind the motivation to "like" a brand? So assess your station socially – is it that "cool person" hanging out with everybody on Facebook, maybe converting conversations into opportunities?
Or are you spending more time contesting and pushing out – doing things they don't look forward to as much as they do feeling like an insider with your brand.
Yes, contests have a place, but just evaluate if they are playing a bigger role socially than speaking to those emotional triggers radio fans value more.
As Conan said, we are in limbo between traditional and digital, and we're all trying to find our way. Social and digital offer brands the ability to build "symbiotic relationships" that lead to familiarity, better relationships, and maybe even higher ratings. But it all comes down to how your brand exerts its influence first.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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